There is no legal maximum weight to lift at work. There are, however, guidelines which set out the recommended safe maximum weight for lifting at work.
Manual Handling Guidelines for Maximum Weight Limit at Work
Manual Handling Guidelines set out recommended safe lifting limits for men and women.
The recommended maximum weight limit should be adjusted depending on how the load is being lifted, how close to the body the weight is held, and how high or how low the weight is lifted.
The guidelines suggest that the maximum weight men should lift at work is 25kg. This relates to loads held close to the body at around waist height. The recommended maximum weight is reduced to 5kg for loads being held at arms length or above shoulder height.
Maximum weight guidelines recommend lower weights for women. The suggested maximum weight for women is 16kg for loads held at waist height.
Lifting a weight below the maximum limit does not always make the load ‘safe’
The weight of the load is not the only factor to be taken into account. There are a number of factors to take into account when assessing whether a load is ‘safe’ for an employee to lift at work.
The guidelines assume that the manual handling and lifting is taking place in reasonable working conditions. It is also assumed that the load is easy to hold and easily grasped with both hands. The guidance is also based on the assumption that the weight is being lifted by a reasonably fit, well-trained individual.
The weight of a load may need to be reduced below the maximum guideline weights for various factors
These factors include:
- any lifting which involves twisting or bending
- if the manual handling is being carried out in a confined space
- or if the lifting activity is being repeated.
There are therefore a number of factors to assess when considering whether the load a person lifts at work is ‘safe’.
Employers should carry out a manual handling risk assessment to assess any manual handling or lifting that an employee is required to do as part of their work.
Action to take if your employer asks you to lift more than the maximum recommended weight
Many workers worry that lifting heavy weights could cause an injury. Your employer may ask you to lift or move loads which you feel exceed the maximum weights. Even if the loads are below the guideline maximum weights, you may still feel physically incapable or struggle with the load.
If you are worried that your employer is placing you at risk of injury, by asking you to lift more than the recommended maximum weight at work, you should report your health & safety concerns.
Action to take if you sustain a lifting injury at work
If you have been injured as a result of lifting at work you may be entitled to make a workplace injury claim
Our guide for work injury compensation claims contains further information about the first steps you should take after an injury at work.
Obtain legal advice about making a work injury compensation claim
Compensation claims arising out of a lifting or manual handling injury can be complex. Professional, expert advice will be required to assess whether a claim can be made.
Beckett & Co Solicitors deal with injury claims caused by lifting or manual handling at work and we are happy to discuss your potential claim free of charge.
There is no need to worry about the costs of making a claim as we are happy to act on a no win – no fee basis. No hidden charges. If the claim is unsuccessful we do not charge a penny.